As 2019 Draws to a Close, the Panasonic GH5 is Still an Everyday Workhorse
The Panasonic GH5 is a mirrorless micro four thirds digital camera that was first released in March 2017. The videographers at Gear Focus may be a bit biased when it comes to reviewing the GH5 – this has been our main production camera for nearly 3 years now. But even after all that time, we still think that it holds great value in 2019 and even moving into 2020. Read on to see our 5 reasons for buying the GH5 in 2019 and 2020.
5 Reasons to buy a Panasonic GH5 in 2019 & 2020
- Image Stabilization
- Color Profiles
- Versatility with Lenses
The in-body image stabilization on the GH5 was unreal when the GH5 first debuted in March 2017. Since then, other cameras have made significant strides to meet that level of stabilization. The GH5, however, still remains one of the best options for stabilization. Pair the GH5 with a compatible Lumix lens featuring O.I.S. and the stabilization system can accommodate up to 5 stops of shake. This can free up valuable packing or camera bag space when traveling. We’ve been able to reach some pretty remote spots for filming and not had to worry about schlepping a tripod in order to get a smooth shot.
We’ve all been in the situation where we are packing for a shoot and run out of space in the gear bag. Think of all the other pieces of gear (additional lenses!) you could bring if you were able to leave the gimbal at home. Now, of course, we aren’t saying you’ll never need a gimbal or tripod. But for run-and-gun situations, sometimes decisions need to be made in order to keep you mobile. Having the ability to shoot usable footage handheld can be a gamechanger for some. So having a small amount of accessories can be a big boost – which leads us to our next point.
The GH5 is capable of 4k video at 60 fps, and records 10-bit 4:2:2 chroma sampling (up to 24/30p.) This leads to fantastic quality resulting in gorgeous video. 4K60 is a feature that has been missing from a lot of other cameras, and is just now starting to make it’s way into more advanced cameras. The Panasonic GH5 is also able to shoot up to 180 fps in full HD 1080p. This can create super smooth super slow motion video. Even upscaled from 1080 to 4K, the video is really stunning.
The camera has built in Cinelike-V and Cinelike-D, as well as an optional V-Log upgrade (a must in our humble opinion.) The built in options definitely offer a lot of versatility when it comes time to color grade your video. However, the V-Log upgrade opens up a whole world in variability when it comes to coloring. If you are serious about color grading, this is definitely a worthwhile investment. If you like to create specific looks with your coloring, but don’t want or need the V-Log option, you can still achieve some great results with the built in options.
The physical camera body is solid and fits well in the hands. It is ergonomically designed and is easy to add additional accessories. It has a nice heft, without being heavy or cumbersome. The LCD screen is an ample-sized 3.2″, and is very easy to navigate via the touchscreen. The menus are all standard Panasonic layout and simple to navigate. The camera also offers 2 hot-swappable memory card slots and takes standard (and cheap) SD cards. There is also an array of on-camera buttons which can be re-programmed to suit your shooting style.
Versatility with Lenses
Obviously a big component of shooting will be your lens selection. Obviously, this is all very subjective, but here are our thoughts. At Gear Focus, our go-to lens for everyday shooting situations with the GH5 is the 12-35mm f/2.8. This lens works great for a variety of shooting situations. It is wide enough to capture an array of scenes, yet has a bit of flexibility to change focal length. It also allows for dual image stabilization so you are freer to get mobile without a gimbal.
Another favorite option of ours is using a Viltrox speed booster that allows use with Canon lenses. We love the footage we can get with a 50mm f/1.4 lens on our GH5. Another great option for when needing a wide angle (real estate comes to mind) is the Laowa 7.5mm f/2. And lastly, for shooting from afar, we like using the 100-300mm lens. This lens can get you right up close to the action from all the way across a field and is just a great image. If you can’t get right in on the action (sporting events, concerts, etc.), the 100-300 is a phenomenal option.
Why we still use this camera, and will continue to use it into 2020 (and further?)
All those features (and many more technical details) keep the GH5 still relevant in 2019. There are things like the variable frame rates (including AWESOME slow motion footage – 120 fps in 4K!) and built-in waveform monitor that add a lot to the value of this camera. But we are in love with the actual video output of this camera. Take a look below at some of the footage we’ve managed to capture over the years and judge for yourself.
So that’s all the hype over the GH5, but what about other options? There are some remarkable cameras that can achieve a lot of the same stats as the GH5, so they are always worth taking a deeper look at. When it comes right down to it though, we still think the GH5 wins out when you factor in price on top of all the other variables.
- Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
- Sony A7 III
- Z CAM E2
- Panasonic GH4
- Sony a6500
- Canon EOS R
The Blackmagic PCC4K has a really nice picture output (arguably better color and picture quality compared to the GH5). It is also capable of 4K60 like the GH5. However, it is not the most ergonomically designed camera and is not as easy to handle. The price tags are about the same on both these two cameras, but the Pocket Camera comes with Da Vinci Resolve.
The Sony A7 III is notable for it’s lowlight capabilities. However, you have to ask yourself how often while you are shooting will this be necessary? Another great feature with the A7 III is the autofocus. The GH5 has a usable autofocus, but the Sony definitely blows it out of the water. The Sony, however, comes with a steeper price tag ($400 more than the GH5) and lacks the 4K60.
The Z CAM E2 boasts 4K video at up to 160fps! However, the camera is box-shaped and not at all ergonomically designed. It is not suited to run and gun shooting. The picture quality is great, but the other tradeoffs compared to the GH5 make it not a worthwhile compromise in our opinion. It is also quite a bit more expensive.
Or consider not upgrading
If you don’t want to upgrade to a Panasonic GH5, the Panasonic GH4 might not be a bad alternative which can save you even more cash. For roughly half the price, the GH4 still offers a whole suite of nice features. If you don’t need 4K60 or 10-bit internal, the GH4 might be a good decision.
The Sony a6500 is also a bit cheaper than the GH5, and offers some comparable stats. In our opinion, the a6500 is a bit small for comfortable shooting. The Sony (again) beats the GH5 in terms of autofocus (and again, the a6500 tops out at 4K30). Also the a6500 has some log modes built in, meaning you don’t have to shell out any more money like you do with the GH5. However, in our opinion, the slight bump in cost pays dividends between the two cameras.
The Canon EOS R is another great option for filmmakers considering the GH5. The EOS R is a bit more expensive, and doesn’t offer the 4K60 (topping out at 4K30). The Canon has a bit more resolution and definitely performs better in lowlight situations. The Canon also performs a bit better when used for still photography – but the GH5 is primarily a video camera, how often are you really needing it to be a hybrid camera?
Are you over the Panasonic GH5?
We’ve laid out our reasons why we will continue to use the GH5 as one of our main cameras. What do you think? Will you still use your GH5 in 2020? We know that we certainly will! And if you still aren’t convinced, are you looking to sell your GH5? List for free on Gear Focus and put the balance towards your next camera! And be sure to let us know your thoughts on the GH5 and it’s viability moving forward – we’d love to hear from you!